Creature Comforts and Quality of Life in Mexico

February 15, 2017              

Heating my Apartment

I mentioned having one stand-alone heater in my one-bedroom apartment. It has a propane tank in it. On the nights when the temperature got down to 35 degrees (in early January), I generally ran it in the morning, starting from the moment I got out of bed until the outside temperature hit about 60. There’s nothing to hold the heat in the apartment overnight so it takes a while to heat it up once the sun comes up.

During that colder weather, I would bring my clothes over to the heater and get dressed standing right in front of it in the morning. The temperature inside my apartment in the morning reminds me of some fall/winter camping trips I’ve taken.

Now that it’s warmer (45 degrees at night), I run the heater much less and feel comfortable getting dressed in my bedroom.

The temperature in the morning discourages morning showers. I take my showers in the middle of the day. Anytime from 11:00am onward works well.

Shower Strategies

I’ve talked about taking showers when I’ve visited other countries and this is no exception. Here, unlike the other Latin American countries I’ve visited, they have hot water tanks that keep the water hot all the time. They do not use on-demand water heaters. Unlike in the U.S., these tanks are rather smallish.

This leads to some creativity when it comes to taking showers. The idea is to get the hot water heater to run just before taking a shower. That way, the water is as hot as it’s going to get. Mind you, this does not mean I get to take a long, leisurely shower. Once I turn the hot water on in the shower, it’s a race against time so that I can finish before the water gets chilly.

Originally, I was washing the breakfast dishes just before taking a shower. This empties out enough of the water that it triggers the water heater to turn on. Recently, though, I only had a few dishes and didn’t run enough water out to trigger the heater to start. I didn’t want to waste water and run it long enough to get the heater to turn on so I turned up the temperature on the water heater to get it to run.

So, I’ve changed my standard operating procedure. I turn the water temperature to cool until I’m ready to take a shower. About 10 minutes before taking my shower, I turn the temperature back up to make it hot and the water heater turns on and heats up the water! Voila!

Once I get into the shower, I turn on enough cold water to make it comfortable. As time goes on, I gradually reduce the amount of cold water as the hot water gets cooler and cooler. By the end of my showers, I have the cold water turned all the way off, just to keep the water warm enough to stand in.

Just this week, I have discovered that it provides for more comfortable showers if I turn the water temperature up to be even more “caliente.” I have to add more cold water to keep from scalding myself, but the burner turns on sooner once I start using the water and that keeps the water hotter during my showers!

Maid Service and Laundry

My apartment gets cleaned once a week. I was also given 3 large bars of soap when I checked in, which should last my entire stay. My hostess gave me some croissants and a 4 liter bottle of water to start.

I have to pay for my hostess’ maid to do my laundry. I could take it to an external place myself and save money. I might do that in the future. I pay 200 pesos for a single load. I heard that there are lavenderia’s nearby that charge 35 – 70 pesos per kilo. That would be a good savings over what I pay now, but I’m willing to pay for the convenience right now.

Communications

The stability of the Internet here leaves something to be desired. It’s fine if you just need to check e-mail occasionally or go online to look something up once in a while. I find it quite tolerable, except when I’m participating in an online meeting and my Internet connection keeps dropping. One day when I was in a meeting with my trading coach and another student, every time I tried to participate, my connection would drop. It was a most frustrating experience.

My mobile phone carrier is T-Mobile. I know there are carriers with better coverage, overall, and I may switch in the future. So far, I’ve been satisfied with my coverage in SMA. I’ve had calls dropped a few times, but was generally able to re-connect within minutes. I had one very bad call with my brother that didn’t get dropped, but his voice was so choppy that I couldn’t understand him.

There are still more observations and stories that I’ll be sending out soon, so stay tuned.

I welcome your comments and questions in the comment section under each article.

Yours in prosperity,
Sophia Hilton (A Savvy Woman)


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